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SMC uncorks temperature control solution

SMC, global provider of pneumatics, has uncorked a solution to resolve a temperature control issue for wine cork laser marking technology supplier, On Laser. With 14 years’ experience in CO2 laser applications and a global customer base, On Laser has been leading the way in this fast growing sector with its unique Décork™ digital laser marking solution for natural cork stoppers.

The use of laser marking is becoming increasingly popular thanks to its
versatility, high productivity and cost benefits when compared to ink jet
printing, and the requirement for accurate temperature control solutions,
therefore, is also in greater demand.

A vital part of the laser marking process is the need to cool and regulate
the temperature of three key parts within the laser. SMC’s HRS Series has
proved to be an outstanding performer, guaranteeing accurate temperature
control, which in turn delivers consistently high quality marking on the
wine cork.

SMC’s Product Promotions Manager, Pete Humphreys, said: "At SMC we work in
partnership with our customers to ensure we deliver the appropriate
solutions for their manufacturing needs. This is a great example of where
our temperature control HRS Series demonstrated its technical
capabilities, particularly when it came to temperature stability."

During the laser marking process, the three areas that require cooling are
firstly and most importantly the optic’s laser emitter tube, which is at
the start of the process, followed by the point of impact and finally the
control cabinet. It is essential the optic is cooled and the laser
emitter tube can retain a constant temperature of ±0.5°C, as variations
could cause a change in size of the tube leading to a loss of laser
marking quality. A key strength of the HRS is the fact it offers
exceptional stability of ±0.1°C. It is also important to cool the point
of impact; if the temperature is not brought under control it can lead to
burning. The control cabinet is cooled down by being fed water by the HRS
to a coil piping, which in turn uses a fan that also helps reduce the
cabinet’s temperature.

The biggest challenge, however, is the smaller than average diameter of
the tubing, leading to restricted water flow and thus making it difficult
to achieve a constant temperature. However, The HRS has an optional
high-lift pump to overcome this issue; with its added power, it guarantees
the minimum flow rate required by customer.

For added efficiency, the HRS features a control system using up to three
integrated sensors which indicates if the equipment isn’t performing
properly. If there is a problem, an alarm is triggered with 31 different
code types to distinguish the different issues, such as higher or lower
temperature, and the self-diagnosis result is clearly displayed on a
panel.

In this particular case, On Laser also appreciated the other standard
functions and flexibility of the HRS, including the remote control
function and the ability to integrate the control panel within their own
laser machine controls using serial interface communications.

SMC’s HRS Series offers both air-cooled and water-cooled solutions and has
several temperature control applications in addition to laser marking and
machining such as sealing of film and paper packaging, paint material,
shrink fitting, X-ray tubes and light sensing and vacuum pumps.

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